About Henry Martinen
My mother got me started at age 8 by buying an upright Heintzman piano used in a bar. My teacher was a dance band musician who played accordion, saxophone, violin and bass. My lessons started out with easy classical music and tin pan alley songs. I would also learn to vamp chords to accompany him while he practiced his music. Sunday afternoons would be used for all his students to play songs in unison at the teacher’s house. An accordion student and I (on piano) would play harmony by vamping chords.
My elementary school taught music notation, sight reading, and choral music from grade 4 to grade 8. I quit lessons after starting high school but stumbled on with playing tin pan alley songbook hits for the next 50 years, for my own recreational amusement. Since 1955 I also learned guitar (50 basic chords for strumming).
Eventually I found I could use my musical bits and pieces to prepare suitable song arrangements for the recorder group. I saw a need for this since modern recorder consort music was not commercially available. My piano music book collection provided enough material to transpose and adapt for the recorders. Sometimes songs just come to my mind and I write the harmonies out of my head, working them out on the piano.